Shenandoah County Public Schools Applauds Top Graduates

2016 Valedictorians and Salutatorians
Posted on 07/13/2016
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Shenandoah County Public Schools is honored to present the valedictorian and the salutatorian from each of our high schools.  

The valedictorian is the student who graduates with the highest Grade Point Average (GPA) compared to all of the other students in that graduating class.  The salutatorian is the student with the second highest GPA  in the graduating class. The GPA is computed by totaling all grade points earned and dividing by the total number of credits completed.  Students receive one additional grade point for the successful completion of any Advanced Placement (AP) course. Beginning in 2017, students will receive an extra point for successful completion of both AP and Dual Enrollment (DE) courses. In Shenandoah County Publc Schools, final GPA's are not tallied until the end of the final grading period allowing for the inclusion of the last 9-weeks' grades.   

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                   Allie Kahl
Photo by Diane Lewis


Class of 2016


Alexandra Claire Kah

Alexandra Claire Kahl,  the daughter of Kathi Kahl and Jeffrey Kahl of Mt. Jackson, is the Valedictorian of Stonewall Jackson High School’s Class of 2016.  Allie attended the Massanutten Regional Governor’s School during her junior and senior years at Stonewall Jackson, an experience she described as “great.” Allie loves animals.  Consider her research projects at the Massanutten Regional Governor’s School.  During her junior year, her project involved the comparison of steroid treatments and chiropractic practices on  horses with injuries. During her senior year, her project involved the effects of obesity on cats with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.  As a part of the research project, on Friday mornings, Allie shadowed veterinarians at Seven Bends Veterinary Hospital in Woodstock. Allie sat in on most of the appointments and was able to watch a few minor surgeries. She also learned how some of the equipment worked and how some lab tests were performed. Her favorite part of the experience was getting to learn about the inner workings of a small animal clinic. It is not a surprise to friends and family that Allie, though she is not positive, plans to become a veterinarian.   She will attend VA Tech with a major in Animal and Poultry Science.  

Allie riding Snoopy Allie practices a dressage test for Snoopy at Iron Horse Farm. Photo by Paula Everett

Allie, who was a member of the local  4-H Vet Science Club, spends many hours weekly caring for, riding, and just loving her horse Snoopy. Allie began riding when she was eight years old and partnered with Snoopy when she was twelve. Throughout her middle and high school years, Allie spent most her evenings taking riding lessons and practicing. She currently shows her horse in hunter and hunter equitation divisions and has begun learning dressage. In the future, Allie hopes to continue riding and showing Snoopy and join the equestrian team at Virginia Tech.

Allie was a member of Stonewall Jackson High School’s National Honor Society her junior year and served as the president of that organization during her senior year. From Grades 9 - 12, she was a member of the Class Council,  an SCA member for four years, and an SCA officer during her senior year. Allie volunteers at the Animal Shelter in Edinburg and the Life Care Center in New Market. She is also active in her church’s youth group. One of her favorite memories with her church youth group was participating in an ELCA Youth Gathering/mission trip to Detroit last summer. Allie was able to volunteer in the city and meet other youth from all over the country who share her faith.

Congratulations, Allie, and Best Wishes!

Olivia Schutz
Photo courtesy of Gentry Photography



Class of 2016


Olivia Paige Schutz
Olivia at Graduation Dr. Jeremy Raley, former Superintendent of Shenandoah County Public Schools, greets Olivia, as Mike Dorman SJHS principal (behind Dr. Raley), looks on.

Olivia Paige Schutz, the daughter of Laurel and Pat Schutz of Edinburg,  is the Salutatorian of Stonewall Jackson High School’s Class of 2016.  Olivia attended the Massanutten Regional Governor’s School during her junior and senior years at Stonewall Jackson High School. “I loved the Governor’s School,” said Olivia.  “The environment there was laid back -- even though classes could be difficult   At first, I was nervous and shy, but the teachers there brought me out.  You always knew they cared about you.   I’ve had  so many great teachers at Stonewall and at the Governor’s School  --  Ms. McInturff and Ms. Dunstan and Dr. Crotteau, just to name a few.   If I was ever stressed, Ms. Miller, the Guidance Counselor at Stonewall, was always there.  And, everybody loves Mr. Dorman.”

Olivia plans to attend Liberty University,  where she will earn a Bachelor’s degree in nursing.  “I chose Liberty University for several reasons,” said Olivia.  “As a whole, going to Liberty will expand my faith and my relationship with God.  The nursing program incorporates not only a strong medical background but also a spiritual healing.  The program has medical missions trips to places such as Haiti and Taiwan, where I can help people heal physically and spread the Good News.”  

"Volunteering is my passion," said Olivia.  She volunteers at the Shenandoah County Pregnancy Center once a week if she can.  Through the National Honor Society, she volunteers at the Mt. Jackson Food Pantry.  

Olivia is the  Assistant Swim Coach for the New Market Swim Team Lightning.  She spends most of her summer evenings and nights coaching.  For over seven years, she swam for the Valley Area Swim Team Gators (VAST), a year-round swim team in Harrisonburg.  

At Stonewall Jackson, Olivia was treasurer of the National Honor Society, a member of the World Languages Club,  an SCA member and officer; and in 2015, Olivia participated in Virginia Girls’ State, a program of the American Legion Auxiliary that revolves  around Virginia’s state government and its functions.  Olivia was one of over 600 girls from all across Virginia who participated in a week-long  mock government.

Congratulations and Best Wishes, Olivia!  


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Ben Truban
Photo courtesy of Housden Photography

Class of 2016


Benjamin Andrew Truban


Benjamin  Andrew Truban, the son of Dr. Thomas and Mrs. Melissa Truban of Woodstock, is the Valedictorian of Central High School’s Class of 2016.   Ben plans to attend VA Tech and major in Aerospace Engineering.  When Ben was in Middle School, his plan was to be a pilot in the Air Force.  A few years later, he decided he wanted to become an aerospace engineer, someone who  designs  aircraft, spacecraft, satellites, and missiles. "Designing ALL of these sounds good to me!” said Ben.

Science and especially math  were definitely Ben’s favorite high school subjects and were, as well, courses in which he excelled.    Of all the sciences,  Ben preferred physics because physics is “math oriented.”  Ben took Virtual (online) Virginia’s AP Environmental Science and  AP Calculus AB and BC. “Calculus is not like algebra, “ explained Ben. “Mr. Cary, my first calculus teacher,  helped me transition from algebra- based math to calculus.“

Though Ben was an SCA officer his senior year, sports were his major interest in high school.   He played JV and Varsity basketball and ran cross country during his freshman and sophomore years.   He played soccer for five years including a year with the Winchester Travel Team.  Ben was among the top scorers for Central’s 2016 soccer team, which advanced to the regional competition.

Ben likes outdoors sports including fishing and kayaking.  He fishes in the Shenandoah River and at the beach during family vacations.  On  a trip to Bermuda, Ben caught a hog fish and a barracuda.  Because he and relatives did not want to eat them,, Ben threw both fish back into the Atlantic.  His  kayaking has been limited to the Shenandoah River, but that is fine with him. The smooth ride on the Shenandoah gives Ben “a relaxing float” through beautiful, peaceful scenery.   

Ben volunteers at his church, mainly helping with community meals. And in the summers, he works full-time as a lifeguard at the Woodstock pool. Lifeguards are up in the seat for 30 minutes and down for 30 minutes to work in the concession stands, explained  Ben.   There are times he has to reprimand students he knows from school, which can be difficult.  They listen, he commented,  because he has the authority to bar them from the pool for not obeying safety rules.  Thankfully, Ben has not had to rescue anyone, but he did have a scare when a little child fell and injured his head.   


Congratulations and Best Wishes, Ben!

Sadie French Raulston    

Class of 2016


Sadie French Raulson

Sadie French Roulston, the daughter of Karl and Suzanne Roulston of Woodstock, is the Salutatorian of Central High School’s Class of 2016.   Sadie was a student at the Massanutten Regional Governor’s School during her junior and senior years and will attend the University of Richmond beginning in the fall semester.

Sadie was especially pleased with her experience at the Governor’s School.  “The learning environment was stimulating because students were given more responsibility than in high school.    Teachers didn’t tell us exactly what to do,” she said. “They just gave us an assignment, and we had to decide how to best accomplish it within our time frame.”  

Students were assigned projects--not just the legendary MRGS-required, year-long research project -- but many projects during each semester, Sadie explained.  The projects were not for one class but might include work for all classes including Agroecology, AP DE English, AP Statistics and Probability, and AP Environmental Science. Though students could choose to work alone, almost all projects were completed with a group, Sadie reported.

During her senior year, Sadie was vice-president of the SCA and the Interact Club.  She was treasurer of her class during grades 9, 10, and 11, a Student Ambassador her sophomore Sadie Roulstonand junior years, and both a National Honor Society and Youth in Government Club member during her junior and senior years.   

Sadie volunteers throughout the year at Luke’s Backpack, for the Woodstock Turkey Trot, in the nursery at the Woodstock United Methodist Church, and at the school blood drives. Her position in the Interact Club provides her opportunities to support Rotary’s volunteer projects. She enjoys working after school and full time in the summer at Pollywog Place, a nursery and preschool, in Woodstock.  At Pollywog Place, Sadie is primarily an assistant teacher for the one year olds, although she works with other ages, too.

During her free time, Sadie enjoys being with friends, babysitting, and reading.  She doesn’t have favorite genres or authors--she just likes to read a variety of books, a hobby that may have helped her earn a perfect score on the Critical Reading section of both the SAT and ACT.

Congratulations and Best Wishes, Sadie!

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                  IJsabel Davis      STRASBURG  HIGH  SCHOOL    
Class of 2016


Isabel Rebekah Davis


Isabel Davis, the daughter of Tina and  John Davis of Toms Brook, is the Valedictorian of Strasburg High School’s Class of 2016.  Isabel plans to attend VA Tech, where she will major in Engineering though she is not certain what type of engineering degree she wants to pursue.   “Tech gives you a year,” she explained, “before you have to decide.”    Isabel does know, however, that she wants her future life’s work to be somehow related to the environment.  

During her junior and senior years at Strasburg High School, Isabel took AP United States History and AP/DE Government and  AP/DE English.  During second semester of her senior year, Isabel enrolled in a Physics/Engineering class that included coursework taught at Stonewall Jackson High School and hands-on application of that knowledge at Howell Metal, located east of New Market.  “It was really cool,” said Isabel, “to leave school and be out in the world.   At the end of the year, we had to develop an improvement plan for an actual Howell Metal project.”  

Isabel’s involvement in life at Strasburg High School ranged from sports to clubs to school government.  She ran cross country during her freshman, sophomore, and junior years and ran long-distance events in track during her freshman and sophomore years.    Active in FCCLA, Isabel attended five state FCCLA leadership conferences  and three national conferences.   As a senior, she was President of the Interact Club  and Vice-President of the National Honor Society.  Her classmates selected Isabel as the 2015 Strasburg High School Homecoming Queen.  

Volunteering is a requirement for both  Strasburg High School National Honor Society members and for students in Mr. Rudy’s  AP English Class.   Isabel enjoyed  volunteering  at Envoy, a nursing and rehabilitation facility in Winchester where Isabel’s mom used to be employed.   It was natural for Isabel to volunteer there since she already had a relationship with some of the people .    “I talked to residents,” she explained. “And sometimes I painted their nails or we might  play games or read.”   

This summer, Isabel will also volunteer to help with  Vacation Bible School at her church and will continue  babysitting two children, ages 8 and 10, children she has kept for the last three years.  When she is not working, Isabel said  “ I like being outside and hanging out with friends.”

Congratulations, Isabel, and Best Wishes!

Class of 2016


Ryan Edward Heilman

Ryan Edward Heilman, the son of Laurie and Mark Heilman of Toms Brook, is the Salutatorian of Strasburg High School’s Class of 2016. Ryan will begin his freshman year at the University of Virginia with an undecided major.

Ryan enjoyed all of his history courses at Strasburg High School  including US Government with Ms. Carper and US History with Mr. Weaver.  At different times in his life, Ryan has gained interest in specific historical time periods and then moved on to others.  For a while, he learned all he could about Ancient Greece and then at another time, his focus switched to World War II.  

Ryan, who completed the Networking program at Triplett Tech, also enrolled in Computer Science 101 (SHS), which is a dual enrolled class with James Madison University. Ryan described the class as “challenging,  kind of like a puzzle.”  Each week, there was a different broad computer topic; for example, one week the topic was  artificial  intelligence.  The class included video chats with the professor, reading textbook chapters, collaborative problem solving activities, and labs.  “In the beginning of the week, I  would not understand the topic, but then once I finished the labs, I could put it together….the puzzle made sense,”  Ryan explained.

Ryan, a member of Boy Scout Troop 5 in Strasburg, has earned the rank of Eagle Scout .  For his Eagle Scout project, he built a a Red Grandis (type of eucalyptus tree), octagonal picnic set  for the Where the Heart Is Group Home in Mt. Jackson. Work on his project began with fundraising efforts including an online endeavor he initiated and  his personal requests to local organizations including the Strasburg Moose and the Eagles, who gave generously.  Miller’s Hardware in Stephens City donated most of the hardware.

Ryan has been active in several volunteer efforts in the community. One summer he volunteered as an assistant helper for the Mt. Olive United Methodist Church's Summer Enrich Program, an academically inclined, social day camp for young children. He also established Troop 5’s annual participation in the work weekend at Shrine Mont in Orkney Springs. The event fosters community volunteers who work to fix up the camp for the coming season, and for the last 6 years, Boy Scout Troop 5 has actively participated in the occasion.

Congratulations, Ryan, and best wishes!!


The Shenandoah County School Board will recognize the 2016 Valedictorians and Salutatorians at their July School Board meeting.